Current affairs

Kabul-Taliban Talks in Murree: A Breakthrough, or Business as Usual? by Iftikhar H Malik

Current affairs
Buried amidst the banner news on varying shades of Greek economic distress and the cat-and-mouse game among the ethnic and sectarian contenders in the Levant, a dramatic but no less crucial development regarding Afghanistan has remained rather confined to the margins. On 7 July, the second-tier leadership of the Taliban and Kabul government met in the summer resort of Murree to ...

The secret world of ISIS training camps - ruled by sacred texts and the sword by Hassan Hassan

Current affairs
Hamid Ghannam’s first day at an Islamic State (Isis) training camp was intense. Very early on the morning of 13 August, he picked up his packed clothes and walked quickly to the main street in his village to meet three of his cousins. As with many of Isis’s young members, he did so without informing his parents. The cousins drove in a white minibus to an Isis camp at the ...

Modi Machine Moves On: India at Its Watershed by Iftikhar H. Malik

Current affairs
Amidst euphoric hopes and subterranean worries, it may still be slightly early to pass a verdict on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s successes during his early honeymoon months, following a landslide electoral victory by his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP’s broad sweep in the May elections, followed by the oath taking ceremony with the South Asian heads of governments and ...

Who Are Boko Haram? by Peter Tinti

Current affairs
Last week, Islamist sect Boko Haram bombed a bus station just outside the Nigerian capital of Abuja. That same day, as authorities were tabulating a body count from the explosions that would eventually reach 71, Boko Haram militants disguised as Nigerian soldiers kidnapped over 200 girls from a school in the country’s northeast. Several of the girls have since ...

Abdolkarim Soroush's Nectar of Prophecy and History by Mohammed Moussa

Current affairs
Not many individuals can draw out a full crowd of people, including students and members of the general public, to a brightly-lit large lecture theatre at a British university. The audience await the appearance of Abdolkarim Soroush to give the 2012 Sir Karl Popper Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics. In the last decade, Soroush has indubitably become one of the most familiar ...

Uniting the Nation: Asghar Ali Engineer's Struggle for Preservation of Plural Ethos by Ram Puniyani

Current affairs
The events of of the last two decades have shown us, more than before, that the efforts of dividing the nation by communal forces have been a major obstacle to social peace and the process of development. In India while the communal violence began with the Jabalpur riot of 1961, it is since the 1980s that the divisive politics has tried to drive a wedge between different communities along ...

The well of the past: the power of religion in Bangladesh by Lailufar Yasmin

Current affairs
While secularism can be seen as a point of departure for Bangladeshi nationalism from the 1950s onward, the post-1971 reality is that it is now being imposed without taking into account the increasingly religious mindset of the overwhelming majority of Bangladeshis. Modernity’s jihad against religion seems to be in retreat. The incarceration of religion within the private ...

Secularism and the Arab Spring: A Story for All Seasons by Mohammed Moussa

Current affairs
Good old fashioned stories normally have heroes and anti-heroes who fight it out until one of them, usually the former, depending on the whims of the author or film director, emerges victorious. Similarly in the realm of fact as much as fiction, a Manichean narrative divides political actors. The Arab world before the effusive Arab Spring that brought down long-established gerontocracies ...

Evolving Ideologies, Strategies & Framing by Abed Bhatti

Current affairs
This article underpins a pubic conversation hosted in conjuction with the Muslims Institute, British Muslims for Secualr Democracy and Semiticart, entitled Towards a secualr Islam State. The ‘conversation’ shall seek to re-examine the notion of what the term ‘secular’ means to Arabs and the connotations it carries, but more importantly how Muslim Scholars and the ...

Compulsory Voluntarism

Current affairs
The Idea of Community. The Big Society is being promoted as the flagship government policy even though no-one seems to have the first idea what it means, argues Austin Williams, director of the Future Cities Project. Commentator, Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian has described it as 'incomprehensibly vague'. Government minister, Francis Maude ...